Fantasy Football Week 3 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
This might be your last chance to be at full strength in your fantasy lineup. Enjoy the easy decisions for one more Sunday before the byes start next week.
We have exhausted our review of fantasy football Week 3 and culminate our research with Bleacher Report's must-read Start 'Em, Sit 'Em. We break down every position in this six-part slideshow.
And as an added bonus, we put our money where our picks are and give you some fantasy advice on how to set lineups in those salary-cap leagues where you draft a whole new team every week. For this exercise, we use the Bracket Blitz game at DraftDay.com as an example and provide you with the bargains at that site's prices.
The final slide unveils how I set my very own lineup in that game. Let's dominate Week 3 together!
Quarterbacks: Start Philip Rivers, Sit Andrew Luck
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Fantasy is strangely skeptical of Rivers' hot start. He is active in just 18 percent of CBS Sports leagues, despite averaging the third-most points at the position in standard leagues through two games.
The Tennessee Titans are off to a nice start, but the Chargers are scorching, and Rivers has found something with a resurgent Eddie Royal. You should have Rivers active over the likes of Tony Romo, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck right now.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Since when do 320 yards and three touchdowns warrant benching talk? The idea of sitting RG3 for Kirk Cousins is balderdash. RG3 is going to enjoy a big day against the Lions secondary in a game that figures to have the pace pushed by the Redskins' own inability to slow Matthew Stafford and the Lions passing game.
Not only should RG3 not get benched in real life, but he is a must-start in all fantasy leagues at the top-heavy quarterback position.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
If not for a three-interception stinker in Seattle last Sunday night, this wouldn't be a question. Kaepernick is going to right himself against a Colts defense that made Terrelle Pryor look like Randall Cunningham and Ryan Tannehill look like a poor man's Dan Marino.
Kaepernick owners might not have to think about whether to start him the rest of the season, as he is going to play close to his Week 1 MVP-like form here.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
The odds are you don't need Dalton to start in standard one-quarterback leagues, but he is an option facing a Packers defense that has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks through two games. Dalton has a full set of options now with the two tight ends and Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones emerging in their second year behind A.J. Green.
This offense looks a lot more versatile and dangerous than perhaps anyone imagined. Dalton should be a beneficiary of a rare high-scoring Bengals game here.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Luck hasn't gotten off to a great start, despite playing a pair of home games against seemingly non-playoff-caliber competition in the Raiders and Dolphins. He is just 21st in the NFL in yards passing, a number we didn't expect to have to worry about after the season he had with Bruce Arians calling the shots.
His college offensive coordinator from Stanford, Pep Hamilton, looks more conservative with his play-calling, so there is some reason to believe Luck won't be as much of a must-start fantasy quarterback as we thought coming into the season. Also, the addition of Trent Richardson might signal even more of an emphasis on a power-running game.
The run won't be there against the 49ers defense this weekend, but Luck is going to struggle to get the ball downfield too, particularly with T.Y. Hilton (groin) banged up.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
He has gotten off to a promising start, working Martellus Bennett into the mix right away in a more Cutler-friendly Marc Trestman offense, but the Steelers defense is still the No. 1 unit in fantasy against the quarterback. That's with their bad start too. Cutler is going to be held to 200 yards, one touchdown and a couple of picks (or more).
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
Few could have anticipated this coming into the season: Palmer is a sit because he is facing the New Orleans defense. Rob Ryan has turned that unit around immediately, and it is among the top 10 against opposing quarterbacks in fantasy through two weeks.
Also, Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) is playing at something less than 100 percent. Palmer will get fantasy-worthy numbers this season, but this is a surprising week to be wary of that now.
Three Values in DraftDay.com's Bracket Blitz
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos ($20,000)
If you are going with a top-tier pick, it has to be Manning in that Monday night mismatch against the Oakland Raiders. Manning should blow this game out in the first half, and he has a lot of mouths to feed, so even if the Broncos don't have an aggressive game plan, Manning should make good on his high price tag. He won't let you down in prime time, capping your week.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins ($15,650)
As we said above, we really like RG3 to make those suggesting he be benched look like fools. The pace of the game against the Lions should be fantasy-friendly, and the $15,650 you burn on him at DraftDay.com should be well-rewarded with 365 yards passing and three touchdowns. He said he can "run more" too, per John Keim of ESPN, so 50 yards rushing and another touchdown are possible.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens ($11,200)
If you like to draft your quarterbacks weekly like you do in yearly leagues—on the low end—Flacco is the pick this week. He doesn't have a great set of receivers, but the Houston Texans figure to take away the run like the Broncos did on opening night, when Flacco passed for 362 yards and two touchdowns.
Flacco will be busy as this game loosens up in the second half, especially with Ray Rice (hip) doubtful. He is the clear pick among the low-end salary-format options.
|1||Peyton Manning||Den||vs. Oak||1||0|
|2||Aaron Rodgers||GB||at Cin||2||0|
|3||Drew Brees||NO||vs. Ari||3||0|
|4||Colin Kaepernick||SF||vs. Ind||5||+1|
|5||Robert Griffin||Was||vs. Det||8||+3|
|6||Matthew Stafford||Det||at Was||4||-2|
|7||Matt Ryan||Atl||at Mia||7||0|
|8||Tom Brady||NE||vs. TB||11||+3|
|9||Cam Newton||Car||vs. NYG||9||0|
|10||Philip Rivers||SD||at Ten||19||+9|
|11||Tony Romo||Dal||vs. StL||10||-1|
|12||Michael Vick||Phi||vs. KC||6||-6|
|13||Andy Dalton||Cin||vs. GB||16||+3|
|14||Russell Wilson||Sea||vs. Jac||12||-2|
|15||Eli Manning||NYG||at Car||13||-2|
|16||Carson Palmer||Ari||at NO||17||+1|
|17||Alex Smith||KC||at Phi||18||+1|
|18||Andrew Luck||Ind||at SF||14||-4|
|19||Josh Freeman||TB||at NE||25||+6|
|20||Joe Flacco||Bal||vs. Hou||24||+4|
|21||Sam Bradford||StL||at Dal||15||-6|
|22||Jay Cutler||Chi||at Pit||21||-1|
|23||Matt Schaub||Hou||at Bal||20||-3|
|24||Ryan Tannehill||Mia||vs. Atl||22||-2|
|25||Geno Smith||NYJ||vs. Buf||29||+4|
|26||Ben Roethlisberger||Pit||vs. Chi||26||0|
|27||EJ Manuel||Buf||at NYJ||27||0|
|28||Terrelle Pryor||Oak||at Den||23||-5|
|29||Christian Ponder||Min||vs. Cle||31||+2|
|30||Jake Locker||Ten||vs. SD||28||-2|
|31||Brian Hoyer||Cle||at Min||30||-1|
|32||Chad Henne||Jac||at Sea||32||0|
Running Backs: Start Knowshon Moreno, Ryan Mathews; Sit Trent Richardson
Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
The performance against the Giants showed Moreno is ready to handle the load for the Broncos as a feature back, at least until Montee Ball gets his confidence under him. Ball fumbled into the end zone, so it will be Moreno as the starter and the goal-line back in Denver’s rotation. That is enough quality touches to consider him a starter in all leagues.
The Raiders might be No. 1 in fantasy against running backs through two weeks, but they haven’t faced a running game that good yet. Moreno should benefit from a game that figures to be lopsided in prime time.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers
Active in just 43 percent of CBS Sports leagues, Mathews faces a Titans defense that gave up 79 rushing yards to Arian Foster and 93 yards to Ben Tate in Week 2. The Chargers offense has proven a lot more potent than anyone expected, so Mathews should be good for 100 yards and a touchdown here.
Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory, New York Jets
The joke has run its course in New York with regard to the Jets. This is a legitimate defense and running team again. Powell and Ivory are in a virtual time-share, but they should both be good for 60 yards and a touchdown apiece against the Bills run defense, which has given the third-most rushing yards in the NFL through two games.
Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
The Pats haven't gotten Ridley going yet, but the Bucs are a better defense with Darrelle Revis now, and Tom Brady is having convulsions about the steadiness of his receiving corps. When you’re down, you get back up by fighting. They will do it with the run.
The Bucs have a good run defense, but you attack a good defense by running right at it. This will be a busy day for Ridley to the tune of 25 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown. The Pats are still one of the best running teams in football, despite what they've shown through two weeks.
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Monday night’s performance opened up eyes for the rookie runner. That was a good Pittsburgh run defense he shredded for a touchdown rushing and receiving. The Steelers allowed only 10 touchdowns to fantasy backs all of last year.
Bernard will not get as many carries as BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but he will get the important ones and make the big plays either on the ground or in the screen game. BGE isn’t a bad play either, especially as the Bengals try to slow Aaron Rodgers down by focusing on time of possession.
Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts
You can bet the Colts want to show off their new toy in his debut, but that will be tough to do against a very good 49ers run defense that is licking its wounds from last week's embarrassment in Seattle. Richardson could get in the end zone, most likely as a pass receiver, but if you have a viable backup to use, use him. Bradshaw is an even worse play.
Willis McGahee, Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey, Cleveland Browns
If you could be sure which of this trio was going to get the bulk of the work against a Minnesota defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs through two weeks, you could start that guy. You cannot be sure now.
We have a hunch it will be McGahee getting slightly more carries than the other two, but Ogbonnaya was likely the most ready to help fantasy owners. You cannot use any of the trio unless you're really desperate. It is Week 3, and there are no byes; you shouldn't be this desperate yet.
James Starks, Green Bay Packers
Congrats on getting Starks off waivers this week. Now, sit him. Starks is facing a very good Bengals front that has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to backs to date.
This is still the Packers and the Rodgers show. There were myriad reasons the Packers took 51 games to finally get a 100-yard rusher. Starks looks headed for 15 carries for 45 yards here.
Three Values in DraftDay.com's Bracket Blitz
Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers ($6,800)
For the reasons stated above, Mathews is a great value at this price. Assuming he can avoid a fumble that will have him giving way to Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead—not to mention the random debilitating injury—Mathews is going to enjoy a coming-out party.
Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers ($9,500)
The Colts have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs through two weeks, and the 49ers are reeling and haven’t yet established their elite running game. They will do that here in a blowout of the Colts. Gore is going to get on the board early and often with 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots ($9,800)
The DraftDay.com game is PPR, and—this is a mere hunch—Ridley is going to be more involved in the screen game, something the Patriots need with their receivers not getting the job done to Brady’s liking.
Ridley isn’t a great value relative to his production to date, and the Bucs are good against the run, but sometimes the non-obvious answer is the right one. That is Ridley for me this week.
|Rank||Running Backs||Team||Opponent||ECR||vs. ECR|
|1||Adrian Peterson||Min||vs. Cle||1||0|
|2||LeSean McCoy||Phi||vs. KC||4||+2|
|3||Jamaal Charles||KC||at Phi||5||+2|
|4||Marshawn Lynch||Sea||vs. Jac||2||-2|
|5||Arian Foster||Hou||at Bal||8||+3|
|6||Doug Martin||TB||at NE||3||-3|
|7||C.J. Spiller||Buf||at NYJ||9||+2|
|8||Alfred Morris||Was||vs. Det||7||-1|
|9||Frank Gore||SF||vs. Ind||11||+2|
|10||Chris Johnson||Ten||vs. SD||10||0|
|11||Knowshon Moreno||Den||vs. Oak||15||+4|
|12||Ryan Mathews||SD||at Ten||23||+11|
|13||DeMarco Murray||Dal||vs. StL||12||-1|
|14||Matt Forte||Chi||at Pit||6||-8|
|15||Lamar Miller||Mia||vs. Atl||19||+4|
|16||Reggie Bush||Det||at Was||17||+1|
|17||Stevan Ridley||NE||vs. TB||14||-3|
|18||Rashard Mendenhall||Ari||at NO||25||+7|
|19||Bilal Powell||NYJ||vs. Buf||32||+13|
|20||Darren Sproles||NO||vs. Ari||16||-4|
|21||Giovani Bernard||Cin||vs. GB||26||+5|
|22||Darren McFadden||Oak||at Den||13||-9|
|23||Trent Richardson||Ind||at SF||20||-3|
|24||DeAngelo Williams||Car||vs. NYG||18||-6|
|25||Daryl Richardson||StL||at Dal||24||-1|
|26||BenJarvus Green-Ellis||Cin||vs. GB||33||+7|
|27||Bernard Pierce||Bal||vs. Hou||22||-5|
|28||Chris Ivory||NYJ||vs. Buf||34||+6|
|29||Robert Turbin||Sea||vs. Jac||46||+17|
|30||Jacquizz Rodgers||Atl||at Mia||37||+7|
|31||Willis McGahee||Cle||at Min||43||+12|
|32||James Starks||GB||at Cin||28||-4|
|33||Joique Bell||Det||at Was||21||-12|
|34||Ahmad Bradshaw||Ind||at SF||35||+1|
|35||Pierre Thomas||NO||vs. Ari||38||+3|
|36||Kendall Hunter||SF||vs. Ind||61||+25|
|37||David Wilson||NYG||at Car||27||-10|
|38||Chris Ogbonnaya||Cle||at Min||47||+9|
|39||Montee Ball||Den||vs. Oak||40||+1|
|40||Maurice Jones-Drew||Jac||at Sea||31||-9|
|41||Ben Tate||Hou||at Bal||30||-11|
|42||Bryce Brown||Phi||vs. KC||41||-1|
|43||Daniel Thomas||Mia||vs. Atl||50||+7|
|44||Danny Woodhead||SD||at Ten||42||-2|
|45||Felix Jones||Pit||vs. Chi||48||+3|
|46||Da'Rel Scott||NYG||at Car||54||+8|
|47||Fred Jackson||Buf||at NYJ||36||-11|
|48||Brandon Jacobs||NYG||at Car||52||+4|
|49||Roy Helu||Was||vs. Det||56||+7|
|50||Jason Snelling||Atl||at Mia||39||-11|
|51||Mark Ingram||NO||vs. Ari||45||-6|
|52||LeGarrette Blount||NE||vs. TB||63||+11|
|53||Andre Ellington||Ari||at NO||51||-2|
|54||Johnathan Franklin||GB||at Cin||71||+17|
|55||Stepfan Taylor||Ari||at NO||84||+29|
Wide Receivers: Start the Hot Slot Guys (Edelman, Royal, Austin), Sit Colts WRs
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
Yes, the Bucs have Darrelle Revis, the Pats have no one but Edelman and the Bucs have been the second-best team in fantasy against wide receivers through two weeks, but Revis doesn't tend to be matched up on slot receivers.
Additionally, the Pats will move Edelman around to get Tom Brady's No. 1 target away from Revis, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. With the current state of the Pats receivers, Edelman rates as a must-start, even if he is benched in one-fifth of CBS Sports leagues still.
Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers
Have you been watching the first two weeks of the season? CBS Sports fantasy owners haven't. Royal is still on the pine in over 50 percent of leagues there.
Apparently they aren't buying the Chargers' Royal treatment. We are. Royal has earned must-start status in all leagues, especially against a Titans defense that was shredded by rookie DeAndre Hopkins last week.
Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams
It wasn't necessarily the touchdowns last week that have us believe in him. It's his consistent targets. He is the Rams' most targeted receiver, even if most of the routes are of the shorter variety. The rookie burner is going to pop one, and the Cowboys have allowed the third-most points to fantasy wide receivers to date.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
We list him here only as a vote of confidence in his sore hammy. The Saints defense is much improved, but Rob Ryan doesn't have a player who can match up with Fitz even if he's hurt. Fitz is listed as questionable, but he practiced Friday, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN, and will play. When he plays, you play him.
Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
White should get more targets and receptions amid his high-ankle sprain as the weeks wear on, but you should force him to prove healthy and productive before you trust him in fantasy lineups again. He is not there yet.
Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Ignore what the numbers say through two weeks, because they are skewed by what Aaron Rodgers and his receivers did against the 49ers defense in Week 1. The 49ers are still a defense to avoid, and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton's system appears based a lot more on a power-running game than the vertical attack the Colts had with Bruce Arians.
Wayne and Hilton will still be productive options for fantasy owners this season, but they are not starter-worthy this week.
Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
You waited two weeks for this potential breakout receiver, and what has he come back to? A team in shambles. Brandon Weeden (thumb) has given way to Brian Hoyer, and there is little hope for the Browns offense now that Trent Richardson is with the Colts. Gordon wasn't used in your fantasy starting lineup in the first two weeks, so don't go using him with so much uncertainty in Cleveland now.
Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce, New England Patriots
Regardless of whether Rob Gronkowski (back) is active, you cannot trust any of the Pats rookie receivers. Brady will get them involved in future weeks, but that Bucs defense is a lot better than it was a year ago, mostly due to the additions of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson.
Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings
Yes, the Vikings need to get Jennings started, but it is going to be a bad week to try. Cornerback Joe Haden is the one thing the Browns have going for them, and he figures to blanket Christian Ponder's one true weapon on the outside. Jennings is out of the top 50 among NFL receivers in targets, and it is likely he stays there through this week.
Four Values in DraftDay.com's Bracket Blitz
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots ($12,450)
This isn't a really friendly price relative to the matchup, but Brady and the Pats are going to get the ball moving through the air against anyone, and they only look like they can do it with Edelman right now. Again, DraftDay.com is PPR, so Edelman should be good for eight catches, 75 yards and a touchdown. That is a 20-plus-point receiver at a price out of the top 12 at the position.
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants ($12,000)
The Panthers defense hasn't faced a pass-heavy team yet, and the Giants are that with the woes of their running game. This game figures to get loose, as both teams are 0-2 and fighting for their 2013 lives early.
The thing we like about Nicks here is that he is playing in front of his hometown and plenty of family. He will be motivated to be a 10-catch, 120-yard, two-touchdown monster here.
Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers ($8,850), and Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams ($9,650)
These two slot receivers are their team's most frequent targets. They are also hot and happen to be underrated by the DraftDay.com salary system too. Drink the Kool-Aid.
|Rank||Wide Receivers||Team||Opponent||ECR||vs. ECR|
|1||Calvin Johnson||Det||at Was||1||0|
|2||A.J. Green||Cin||vs. GB||2||0|
|3||Julio Jones||Atl||at Mia||5||+2|
|4||Dez Bryant||Dal||vs. StL||3||-1|
|5||Victor Cruz||NYG||at Car||7||+2|
|6||Brandon Marshall||Chi||at Pit||6||0|
|7||Demaryius Thomas||Den||vs. Oak||4||-3|
|8||Dwayne Bowe||KC||at Phi||17||+9|
|9||Randall Cobb||GB||at Cin||8||-1|
|10||Jordy Nelson||GB||at Cin||12||+2|
|11||Pierre Garcon||Was||vs. Det||13||+2|
|12||DeSean Jackson||Phi||vs. KC||9||-3|
|13||Julian Edelman||NE||vs. TB||22||+9|
|14||Wes Welker||Den||vs. Oak||14||0|
|15||Marques Colston||NO||vs. Ari||18||+3|
|16||Hakeem Nicks||NYG||at Car||16||0|
|17||Larry Fitzgerald||Ari||at NO||15||-2|
|18||Andre Johnson||Hou||at Bal||11||-7|
|19||Vincent Jackson||TB||at NE||10||-9|
|20||Torrey Smith||Bal||vs. Hou||24||+4|
|21||Steve Johnson||Buf||at NYJ||26||+5|
|22||Eric Decker||Den||vs. Oak||25||+3|
|23||Tavon Austin||StL||at Dal||32||+9|
|24||Anquan Boldin||SF||vs. Ind||20||-4|
|25||Eddie Royal||SD||at Ten||35||+10|
|26||James Jones||GB||at Cin||27||+1|
|27||Josh Gordon||Cle||at Min||36||+9|
|28||Steve Smith||Car||vs. NYG||23||-5|
|29||DeAndre Hopkins||Hou||at Bal||33||+4|
|30||Mike Williams||TB||at NE||31||+1|
|31||Reggie Wayne||Ind||at SF||19||-12|
|32||Antonio Brown||Pit||vs. Chi||28||-4|
|33||Roddy White||Atl||at Mia||37||+4|
|34||Miles Austin||Dal||vs. StL||30||-4|
|35||Mike Wallace||Mia||vs. Atl||21||-14|
|36||Kenbrell Thompkins||NE||vs. TB||45||+9|
|37||Donnie Avery||KC||at Phi||66||+29|
|38||Nate Burleson||Det||at Was||48||+10|
|39||Greg Jennings||Min||vs. Cle||41||+2|
|40||Brian Hartline||Mia||vs. Atl||38||-2|
|41||Kendall Wright||Ten||vs. SD||51||+10|
|42||Cecil Shorts||Jac||at Sea||39||-3|
|43||T.Y. Hilton||Ind||at SF||29||-14|
|44||Harry Douglas||Atl||at Mia||59||+15|
|45||Santonio Holmes||NYJ||vs. Buf||65||+20|
|46||Marlon Brown||Bal||vs. Hou||44||-2|
|47||Lance Moore||NO||vs. Ari||43||-4|
|48||Andre Roberts||Ari||at NO||46||-2|
|49||Rueben Randle||NYG||at Car||50||+1|
|50||Michael Floyd||Ari||at NO||40||-10|
|51||Mohamed Sanu||Cin||vs. GB||62||+11|
|52||Vincent Brown||SD||at Ten||49||-3|
|53||Sidney Rice||Sea||vs. Jac||56||+3|
|54||Golden Tate||Sea||vs. Jac||47||-7|
|55||Kenny Britt||Ten||vs. SD||53||-2|
|56||Chris Givens||StL||at Dal||34||-22|
|57||Austin Pettis||StL||at Dal||71||+14|
|58||Robert Woods||Buf||at NYJ||70||+12|
|59||Emmanuel Sanders||Pit||vs. Chi||42||-17|
|60||Denarius Moore||Oak||at Den||58||-2|
|61||Kenny Stills||NO||vs. Ari||68||+7|
|62||Alshon Jeffery||Chi||at Pit||52||-10|
|63||Brandon LaFell||Car||vs. NYG||75||+12|
|64||Jerome Simpson||Min||vs. Cle||63||-1|
|65||Riley Cooper||Phi||vs. KC||89||+24|
|66||Aaron Dobson||NE||vs. TB||55||-11|
|67||Rod Streater||Oak||at Den||54||-13|
|68||Greg Little||Cle||at Min||79||+11|
|69||Keenan Allen||SD||at Ten||81||+12|
|70||Darrius Heyward-Bey||Ind||at SF||69||-1|
Tight Ends: Start Injured Stars (If They're Active), Sit Coby Fleener
Owen Daniels, Houston Texans
It was surprising to see Daniels active in just 62 percent of CBS Sports leagues this week. He is a top-eight fantasy tight end who hasn't done anything to warrant a benching through two weeks, posting three touchdowns.
Sure, Garrett Graham has vultured a pair of touchdowns, but the Texans have shown they love the tight end in the red zone. Also, the Ravens defense has made Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron look like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski through two weeks.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
This is another injury-related vote of confidence. Davis is dealing with a hamstring issue that has kept him out of practice, but he has a consecutive-games-played streak to keep active.
We should expect him to play, according to Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. You play him if he does start—if only because it is not worth having the tight end position take up two spots on your fantasy roster right before the bye weeks begin.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
This is another one you play if he plays, although it looks a lot less certain Gronk (back) is going to be active for the Pats. He was upgraded to questionable Friday, per Doug Kyed of NESN, which the NFL classifies as a 50-50 chance to play. He will find the end zone if he is active Sunday.
Oh, not that it matters, but the Bucs also happen to be the worst team in fantasy versus tight ends thus far.
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts
The news Dwayne Allen (hip) is out for the season was great for Fleener's full-season status. It made him one of the most added tight ends in fantasy this week. Trusting him to score against that 49ers defense coming off a loss is a bad idea, though. Fleener's true value will come through in future weeks, especially if Trent Richardson helps get the play-action pass going.
Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears
He has been great through two weeks, reeling in three Jay Cutler touchdowns, but the Steelers remain one of the toughest pass defenses in all of football. Bennett is going to find it tougher this week than any on his remaining schedule the entire season. You should not pick up a second tight end to sit him, but sit him if you have a viable alternative.
Dallas Clark, Baltimore Ravens
He was a revelation in Week 1 for fantasy owners, but most of that work came in garbage time. He was a non-factor last week (one catch for eight yards), and the Texans have allowed just three catches to tight ends through two games. Only the Jets and Browns have allowed fewer.
Three Values in DraftDay.com's Bracket Blitz
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons ($9,450)
This week is a perfect storm for Gonzo owners. First, Julio Jones (knee) and Roddy White (ankle) are less than 100 percent, and Steven Jackson (thigh) has been ruled out. Also, the Dolphins have allowed the fifth-most points to tight ends through two games.
This will shape up to be a busy day for Gonzalez to the tune of 10 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. His slow start to the season has him as just the 10th-most expensive tight end on DraftDay.com's board. Bargain.
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers ($8,600)
DraftDay.com clearly set this price before Gates went off for eight catches for 124 yards last Sunday. The Titans have already surrendered two touchdowns to tight ends this season, and they were the worst team in fantasy against the position a year ago. This should be a big week for Gates at a cost much lower than he's truly worth.
Owen Daniels, Houston Texans ($8,500)
For the reasons stated above, Daniels is possibly the most intriguing salary-league buy. The Texans love using the tight end for scores, and the Ravens have been generous to them to date.
|Rank||Tight Ends||Team||Opponent||ECR||vs. ECR|
|1||Jimmy Graham||NO||vs. Ari||1||0|
|2||Tony Gonzalez||Atl||at Mia||3||+1|
|3||Jason Witten||Dal||vs. StL||2||-1|
|4||Vernon Davis||SF||vs. Ind||5||+1|
|5||Antonio Gates||SD||at Ten||11||+6|
|6||Jermichael Finley||GB||at Cin||9||+3|
|7||Jordan Cameron||Cle||at Min||7||0|
|8||Owen Daniels||Hou||at Bal||10||+2|
|9||Greg Olsen||Car||vs. NYG||6||-3|
|10||Julius Thomas||Den||vs. Oak||4||-6|
|11||Kyle Rudolph||Min||vs. Cle||15||+4|
|12||Rob Gronkowski||NE||vs. TB||14||+2|
|13||Martellus Bennett||Chi||at Pit||12||-1|
|14||Jared Cook||StL||at Dal||8||-6|
|15||Brandon Myers||NYG||at Car||13||-2|
|16||Coby Fleener||Ind||at SF||16||0|
|17||Jermaine Gresham||Cin||vs. GB||23||+6|
|18||Tyler Eifert||Cin||vs. GB||17||-1|
|19||Charles Clay||Mia||vs. Atl||18||-1|
|20||Brent Celek||Phi||vs. KC||19||-1|
|21||Kellen Winslow||NYJ||vs. Buf||21||0|
|22||Dallas Clark||Bal||vs. Hou||26||+4|
|23||Brandon Pettigrew||Det||at Was||20||-3|
|24||Fred Davis||Was||vs. Det||22||-2|
|25||Zach Ertz||Phi||vs. KC||35||+10|
Defense/Special Teams: Start the Vikings and Jets, Sit the Packers and Rams
You don't need an analyst to tell you to jump on anyone playing the Browns right now. They are likely to be leaning on a running back coming off the street, not to mention serious injury, in Willis McGahee. Also, Brian Hoyer is starting at quarterback. This should be a bonanza for what isn't a terrible Vikings defense.
New York Jets
We have listed the defenses facing the Bills and EJ Manuel as "starts" each of the past two weeks. This time it will pay off with the largest rewards.
Rex Ryan has his Jets playing very good defense again, particularly against the run. The Jets are a lot better than anyone thinks they are, and they showed that against the Pats in Week 2. They also have had a few extra days to prepare because their last game was over a week ago.
They might be down a bit, but they are not out. Additionally, the Falcons defense scored a week ago on an interception return. The Dolphins are not going to go 3-0, despite what you might think of them and Joe Philbin's rebuilding plan. Start the Falcons defense if you had the Packers, Rams, Dolphins or Chargers as your primary defense coming into this week.
Green Bay Packers
We admit the Packers are not as bad of a defense as they have shown through two weeks, but this week doesn't shape up to be a great one to expect a turnaround in fantasy terms. The Bengals have been the stingiest opponent for a fantasy defense through two games. Consider a more stout unit facing a better matchup.
St. Louis Rams
There is legit talent on this defense, but they are facing one of the more potent offenses in football in the Cowboys and doing it on the road. The Cowboys are coming off a loss, and they figure to finally establish DeMarco Murray and the running game this week. This game is going to be a bit too high-scoring to trust a fantasy defense in, and that includes the Cowboys defense as well.
They have been impressive in their 2-0 start, but facing the Falcons and Matt Ryan is a whole different ballgame. I don't care how banged-up the Falcons are in the running and passing game. They won't turn the ball over, and they are going to protect the passer. The Dolphins won't get sacks or turnovers, and they will allow a lot of yards and points. Sounds like a bad week to trust this unit to me.
Three Values in DraftDay.com's Bracket Blitz
New York Jets ($5,000)
Someone is not paying attention to the defense the Jets can play. They are the cheapest unit on the board at DraftDay.com. Lock it up.
New Orleans Saints ($5,000)
Laugh, but Rob Ryan has this unit playing much better football than anyone expected. The Saints also are facing an error-prone Carson Palmer at home. The Saints are always tough at home. Ask the Falcons.
New England Patriots ($6,300)
Everyone will be all over the Vikings because of the Browns debacle, but this is another case where the obvious answer is not the best one. The Pats are cheaper at DraftDay.com, and the Bucs are on the verge of an even bigger disaster than the Browns. Seriously.
No one expected anything of the Browns, something that could not be said of the Bucs. Josh Freeman is on shaky, shaky ground.
|Rank||Defenses and Special Teams||Team||Opponent||ECR||vs. ECR|
|1||Seattle Seahawks||Sea||vs. Jac||1||0|
|2||Denver Broncos||Den||vs. Oak||3||+1|
|3||San Francisco 49ers||SF||vs. Ind||5||+2|
|4||Chicago Bears||Chi||at Pit||2||-2|
|5||Houston Texans||Hou||at Bal||7||+2|
|6||New England Patriots||NE||vs. TB||4||-2|
|7||Minnesota Vikings||Min||vs. Cle||6||-1|
|8||Baltimore Ravens||Bal||vs. Hou||8||0|
|9||Pittsburgh Steelers||Pit||vs. Chi||15||+6|
|10||New York Jets||NYJ||vs. Buf||12||+2|
|11||Cincinnati Bengals||Cin||vs. GB||11||0|
|12||Atlanta Falcons||Atl||at Mia||21||+9|
|13||New Orleans Saints||NO||vs. Ari||25||+12|
|14||Carolina Panthers||Car||vs. NYG||17||+3|
|15||Dallas Cowboys||Dal||vs. StL||14||-1|
|16||Green Bay Packers||GB||at Cin||19||+3|
|17||St. Louis Rams||StL||at Dal||13||-4|
|18||Cleveland Browns||Cle||at Min||10||-8|
|19||Miami Dolphins||Mia||vs. Atl||16||-3|
|20||San Diego Chargers||SD||at Ten||27||+7|
Kickers: Start Steven Hauschka, Sit (No, Cut) Randy Bullock
Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks
He isn't the first name you think about among kickers, but the Seahawks are the largest favorite of the week in Las Vegas. It should mean a lot of points for the kicker, especially once the game gets out of hand early and the Seahawks stop showing their best red-zone packages.
Phil Dawson, San Francisco 49ers
He hasn't gotten off to a great start, but the 49ers are going to rebound well off that Seahawks loss by trouncing the Colts at home. Dawson is headed for a double-digit day.
Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers
The Packers usually are a threat to score all touchdowns in a given week, but the Bengals are one defense that can slow them down and make stops in the red zone. Crosby will kick more field goals than extra points this week.
Randy Bullock, Houston Texans
The Texans have a great situation for a kicker because of their running game and mediocrity at quarterback, but Bullock blew his fantasy value with three missed field goals last week. Another week like that, and he's going to be on the street.
Nick Novak, San Diego Chargers
We called him a solid add in the Week 3 Waiver Wire, but that was overlooking the fact the Titans have allowed just three extra points through two games. The Chargers are going to score against Tennessee, but you don't have to rush to start Novak in any leagues, just in case the Titans remain a surprise on defense.
Jay Feely, Arizona Cardinals
He was second to Novak in fantasy scoring last week, but Feely was closer to the unemployment line than fantasy rosters in the preseason. He wound up beating out Dan Carpenter for the job, but a few misses could get him put back in the Cards' bad graces. Don't bother owning him at this point.
Three Values in DraftDay.com's Bracket Blitz
Phil Dawson, San Francisco 49ers ($5,300)
Arguably the best kicker in fantasy for the season—especially this week—is one of the cheapest at DraftDay.com because of a slow start. Sign him up.
Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,300)
This is just a hunch, but the Packers-Bengals game is going to feature more field goals than touchdowns early. Nugent is a solid buy at DraftDay.com's price.
Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons ($5,400)
We have already mentioned a myriad of issues for the Falcons on offense and the general strength of the Dolphins defense. It could be a four-field-goal day for the Falcons.
|1||Stephen Gostkowski||NE||vs. TB||2||+1|
|2||Matt Prater||Den||vs. Oak||1||-1|
|3||Matt Bryant||Atl||at Mia||3||0|
|4||Blair Walsh||Min||vs. Cle||7||+3|
|5||Phil Dawson||SF||vs. Ind||6||+1|
|6||Garrett Hartley||NO||vs. Ari||4||-2|
|7||Justin Tucker||Bal||vs. Hou||11||+4|
|8||Greg Zuerlein||StL||at Dal||8||0|
|9||Dan Bailey||Dal||vs. StL||5||-4|
|10||Mason Crosby||GB||at Cin||18||+8|
|11||Steven Hauschka||Sea||vs. Jac||9||-2|
|12||Caleb Sturgis||Mia||vs. Atl||16||+4|
|13||Sebastian Janikowski||Oak||at Den||13||0|
|14||Nick Novak||SD||at Ten||19||+5|
|15||Alex Henery||Phi||vs. KC||10||-5|
|16||Jay Feely||Ari||at NO||21||+5|
|17||Graham Gano||Car||vs. NYG||27||+10|
|18||Josh Brown||NYG||at Car||15||-3|
|19||David Akers||Det||at Was||12||-7|
|20||Robbie Gould||Chi||at Pit||17||-3|
DraftDay.com Bracket Blitz: Emack's Lineup
You want to see me put my money where my picks are? Well, we do it this week.
Here is my roster entry in DraftDay.com's Bracket Blitz using my own advice in this Start 'Em, Sit 'Em:
- Quarterback: Robert Griffin III ($15,650)
- Running back: Adrian Peterson ($16,250)
- Running back: Ryan Mathews ($6,800)
- Wide receiver: Julian Edelman ($12,450)
- Wide receiver: Hakeem Nicks ($12,000)
- Tight end: Tony Gonzalez ($9,450)
- Flex: Wide receiver A.J. Green ($16,250)
- Kicker: Phil Dawson ($5,000)
- Defensive/Special Teams: New York Jets ($5,000)
Set a lineup along with me. See if you can do better than this Start 'Em, Sit 'Em!
Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game. You can also listen to him on his podcast that he deprecatingly dubbed the Fantasy FatCast.